More than 2,000 cruise ship passengers descended upon north Wales last Saturday (17 May) when the German vessel, Mein Schiff, dropped its anchor in Holyhead Port.
Passengers and crew on the ship, which is owned by TUI cruise lines, were impressed by the stop-off in Wales, with German speaking ambassadors waiting to welcome them. A vessel of this size can bring a passenger day income of around £175,000 into the local economy.
Last year the Welsh Government, in partnership with Tourism Partnership North Wales and Coleg Llandrillo, launched a three day training course to attract fluent German speakers to act as ambassadors for cruise passengers. This puts Wales in pole position to attract future cruise business with German cruise lines.
Edwina Hart, Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport, said: “The cruise market has been identified by the new tourism strategy for Wales as one way of growing the tourism industry in Wales by 10% by 2020, Germany has also been identified as one of our key overseas markets.
“The experience that our cruise passengers have in Wales will be enriched if their off shore based itineraries are led by a German speaking tour guide, we are keen to work in partnership to ensure that we have the correct skills in place to provide this service for our overseas visitors. The feedback from the weekend is positive and we look forward to welcoming further German cruise liners in the future.”
The passengers were welcomed by a variety of activities which had been organised by Anglesey County Council, Holyhead Town Council and outside stakeholders. The activities included a choir, a local dance group, a band and a local arts and crafts fair.
Nia Rhys Jones, travel and tourism programme area manager at Coleg Llandrillo, said: “The initiative which resulted in a group of German ambassadors assisting the official tour guides last Saturday proves that meeting the needs of overseas visitors to North Wales can be achieved in a professional way. The German linguists, most of whom live in the region, were very enthusiastic and determined to show the area at its absolute best. It was a privilege to work alongside them and these projects must now be considered for other linguistic gaps which exist in Wales.”